OUT of action for more than a year, the Premier Volleyball League hopes to finally return to action on April 10, as the first professional volleyball league in the country.
The PVL last held a match on November 9, 2019, when Creamline led by MVP Jema Galanza completed a 20-match sweep of the Open Conference.
The PVL has yet to return to action since the second match of the title series between Creamline and Petro Gazz. Its planned season starting May 2020 was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, and its broadcast partner ABS-CBN Sports and Action was shut down after losing its franchise.
“We are unhappy that we are not able to bring games to the fans, which we wanted to do, but we were not able to do so we apologize for that but really there was nothing we can do about it because the authorities did not allow us to have any games,” PVL President Ricky Palou told Spin.ph.
“For 2021 we are confident that we will be able to bring games to the fans. The only positive thing that happened in 2020 was our decision to turn the PVL into a professional league,” Palou said. “We’re hoping that we'll make the game of volleyball more prominent and that being the case we’re hoping it will inspire more kids to take up the sport of volleyball.”
The PVL plans to hold the Open Conference under a bubble format at Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna after the Holy Week.
“We were really very happy that the GAB accepted us to become professional and of course with the teams’ approval,” PVL Commissioner Tony Liao added.
“We were sad that Sports & Action was closed by the government but at least we still have a coveror that has been wanting us to partner with them ever since and because of this pandemic, volleyball was suspended also in all the school levels.”
Initially, the PVL had hoped to stage a tournament in February or March but decided to avoid holding an event while the country hosts the Fiba Asia Qualifiers.
“Our original schedule was February or March but we didn’t want to compete with basketball baka magkaproblema pa di ba because the SBP is having an international tournament here some time in February,” Palou said. “So we said March but when we look at the calendar of March, aabutin ng Holy week so we said we’ll just do it the weekend after Holy week which is April 10.”
The PVL has eight teams — Creamline, Choco Mucho, Perlas Spikers, Motolite, BaliPure, Chef’s Classic and Petro Gazz.
Palou says Petro Gazz remains fully committed to the PVL amid reports it plans to join the Philippine Superliga as a guest team.
Air Force and Army are expected to play as guest teams in the PVL.
“They (Petro Gazz) are fully committed to the PVL. I talked to the owner, the family of Villavicencio, and even Camille (Cruz), the team manager, they said we are fully committed to PVL. That's good enough for us. Sinabi nila they are committed to us, okay na sa akin we’ll rely on what they said,” Palou said.
The league also expects some new teams.
“We have inquiries from three teams but nothing is definite yet. They are just asking how to join, what does it take? But nothing definite yet. Siguro by next month, we should be finalizing everything,” he said.
Palou added that they are in talks with GMA and TV5 as their broadcast partner.
“Siguro by the end of the first week of January we should be able to decide na which station we will go with,” he said.
Liao assures the fans will enjoy watching the games in television as the PVL players are expected to bring out their best after more than a year of inactivity.
“Most probably when we start next year with our Bubble, even though fans won’t be allowed to watch live games, the teams, players will be very glad that their favorite sport they play will come back and again entertain the fans,” Liao said.